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Betting on the AfricansJohn F. Kennedy's Courting of African Nationalist Leaders$
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Philip E. Muehlenbeck

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396096

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396096.001.0001

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The View from Pretoria

The View from Pretoria

(p.178) 9 The View from Pretoria
Betting on the Africans

Philip E. Muehlenbeck

Oxford University Press

Viewed from Pretoria, Kennedy looked to be apartheid’s worst enemy. Not only was the young American president strengthening US relations with black Africa both economically and morally, but he also took a stand against minority rule in southern Africa and in support of civil rights for African Americans in the United States. In reality, the specter of the New Frontier in Africa turned out not to be as bad as the South African government initially feared. Kennedy’s opposition to apartheid remained largely rhetorical as he rationalized that taking a tough line against the South African government would not convince it to change its racial policies but would only serve to militarize the conflict between the white minority and African majority. As a result, Kennedy refrained from taking stern action against Pretoria and did not send aid to the African National Congress as he had done for the Angolan nationalist movement.

Keywords:   Kennedy, South Africa, Apartheid, Nationalism, African National Congress

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